ST PETERSBURG - Derek Hatcher is a difference maker. The Berkeley Prep senior quarterback had six touchdowns Friday night as he and the Bucs beat Northside Christian 70-20.
"He is the catalyst and he makes everything go," Berkeley Prep coach Frank Sullivan said. "I think he is one of the best in either county."
On their first play, Hatcher connected with junior Andrew McAdams on a 54-yard pass. It was the sign of things to come. The duo finished the drive a few plays later for the first of their three end-zone collaborations with a 4-yard TD pass.
"McAdams has been getting better every day in practice since we moved him to receiver in August," Sullivan said. "He is a terrific athlete. Derek likes to go to him when he is in a jam."
Hatcher showed his running ability on the Bucs' next scoring drive when he ran for 54 yards on four plays, including his 42-yard touchdown run where he broke at least five tackles.
McAdams, who handles placekicking duties in addition to being a backup quarterback and free safety, was again the recipient of a Hatcher touchdown pass when he hauled in a 25-yard strike with 10:24 left in the half to make it 20-0. He scored again on a 30-yard pass from Hatcher just before the half ended.
Berkeley Prep (6-0) jumped to an early lead but the Mustangs (5-2) scored 20 consecutive second-quarter points and trailed 28-20 at the break.
Tim Devlin swung the momentum in Northside's favor with his 88-yard kickoff return. The Mustangs forced Berkeley into their first punt on the ensuing drive. Northside followed with its most impressive drive, which featured two fourth-down conversions.
On both, quarterback Bobby Dare kept his offense on the field with runs of four and 26-yards respectively. The latter set up junior reserve quarterback Greg Durspeck for an 18-yard touchdown pass to RJ Sabin. Durspeck, who also plays linebacker, tied the score briefly with a 20-yard fumble return with 2:35 left in the half on what would be the Mustangs' last touchdown.
Things got ugly in the second half as Berkeley Prep outscored Northside 42-0.